If a nine-to-five weekday schedule combined with ten-to-four weekend hours sounds familiar, then it’s time to start thinking about the bigger picture. In this fast-moving, technologically advanced world, our digital presence is just as important as our physical one: the online world never slows down, and that means businesses operate 24/7, every day of the year.
Here at Modix, we recognise the importance of understanding our broad client base in order to engage with customers more productively. Keeping track of the way customers interact with our used vehicle locator (UVL) tools gives us valuable insight into how best to communicate with our dealer and car buyer audiences.
Christmas Day 2016 brought visitors to our sites at every hour of the day, and our UVLs were in use even as we welcomed in the New Year. The car market and its users continue regardless of time or place, and that’s why for digital marketers in this sector to deliver results, we must stay on our toes at all times.
During 2016, visits to our UVLs were fairly evenly spread throughout the day and night, implying a break away from structured ‘business’ hours, and an emerging preference for flexible behaviour patterns. People are searching for the vehicles they want whenever the interest sparks.
The majority of visits in 2016 happened during the day, with just over 38% occurring between 9am and 4pm, and another 38% between 4pm and 10pm. The steady nature of site visits during daytime hours highlights the need to stay on the ball at all times – the automotive market is such that there is a constant demand for vehicles, and our challenge is staying engaged with customers, no matter when or how they use our tools.
With a large chunk of visits happening in the period between 4pm and 10pm, our extended hours Live Chat service is clearly a beneficial customer relationship tool. Allowing our dealer clients to be available during this traditionally out-of-hours period sets Modix apart from our competition, many of whom only provide communications during working hours.
Out-of-hours solutions are key to preventing long waiting times, and engaging customers faster. With Live Chat, we prevent wait times of up to 17 hours, by connecting dealerships with their customer base more of the time. Our close relationships with dealers mean we hear plenty of anecdotal evidence around the prevalence of people logging in to answer queries at home, or while out and about on mobile devices. This modern, flexible way of working promises to bring a personal, human level of connectivity to businesses, and – if current trends are anything to go by – will soon see the extension of available hours.
Approximately one fifth of visits to Modix UVLs in 2016 occurred overnight, between the hours of 10pm and 9am, representing a hotbed of potential engagement, as customers searching during this time are unable to instantly contact dealerships to do business or learn more about vehicles.
This missed opportunity of overnight hours might become a thing of the past sooner than we think, with the advance of artificial intelligence (AI) systems being used to enhance customer service offering and availability. With a wealth of software constantly developing, businesses can now gather information about each call before answering; identify how to effectively deal with customer issues; and even pass on feedback as to the success of the service experience. When combined with messaging systems, AI can be used alongside algorithms to push out helpful information to customers based on their needs or questions. This type of service is particularly valuable for capitalising on overnight website traffic, as AIs can also act as virtual receptionists, with the ability to record contact details and pass them on to staff, who can take action when the physical dealership opens the following day.
As the car market advances, we continue to strive to understand and work with the habits of our customers – dealers and car buyers alike. As routines diversify and time dictates behaviour less and less, we as digital marketing providers must learn to be there for our clients when they need us, adapt alongside their demands, and work with technology in order to maximise business potential.